An authoritative, encyclopedic, and illuminating wellness manual.



A physician offers a research-based guide to good health.

This debut by Speidel, a doctor, professor emeritus, and public health expert, is an all-encompassing manual that focuses on “the science that underlies a health-restoring, health-preserving lifestyle and warns against unproven claims.” In a straightforward, unadulterated manner, the author enumerates the “building blocks” of a healthy lifestyle; he covers virtually every aspect in 16 chapters that range from nutrition and weight control to mental health and the prevention of specific diseases. Speidel begins with a useful “Lifestyle Checklist,” describing the various elements of a healthy lifestyle and including a handy, literal checklist of beneficial behaviors, cross-referenced to the book’s subsequent chapters. Each chapter is remarkably comprehensive in scope and detail, providing a wealth of information as well as extensive references to current scientific studies and relevant sources. A nice touch that puts the guide on a more personal level is the occasional sidebar entitled “My Story,” in which Speidel writes anecdotally about some of his own health-related experiences. One good example of the high quality of the volume’s contents is “Optimal Nutrition,” a chapter so thorough that it could easily have been expanded into a separate book. Here, the author addresses the American diet; basic facts about food and nutrition; the risks associated with sugar, carbohydrates, and fats; cholesterol; types of diets and their positive/negative effects; nutrition labels; organic foods; gluten-free items; and more. Many studies are referenced and footnoted, and a “Summary of the essential facts” is appended to the end of this as well as other chapters. Whether it is material on the prevention of cardiovascular disease, the benefits of physical activity, or a look at environmental pollutants and toxins, Speidel takes the same care in clearly presenting unbiased information. He is painstaking and methodical in his coverage of each topic, backing up any claims with research studies; the author even helpfully includes a final chapter that explains how to understand scientific data. While some readers may find the research references overwhelming, most should welcome their veracity. Also notable: The work’s content is exceedingly current (including a section on Covid-19).

An authoritative, encyclopedic, and illuminating wellness manual.

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-952762-00-0

Page Count: 600

Publisher: JJ Webster Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better...



The popular blogger and author delivers an entertaining and thought-provoking third book about the importance of being hopeful in terrible times.

“We are a culture and a people in need of hope,” writes Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, 2016, etc.). With an appealing combination of gritty humor and straightforward prose, the author floats the idea of drawing strength and hope from a myriad of sources in order to tolerate the “incomprehensibility of your existence.” He broadens and illuminates his concepts through a series of hypothetical scenarios based in contemporary reality. At the dark heart of Manson’s guide is the “Uncomfortable Truth,” which reiterates our cosmic insignificance and the inevitability of death, whether we blindly ignore or blissfully embrace it. The author establishes this harsh sentiment early on, creating a firm foundation for examining the current crisis of hope, how we got here, and what it means on a larger scale. Manson’s referential text probes the heroism of Auschwitz infiltrator Witold Pilecki and the work of Isaac Newton, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Immanuel Kant, as the author explores the mechanics of how hope is created and maintained through self-control and community. Though Manson takes many serpentine intellectual detours, his dark-humored wit and blunt prose are both informative and engaging. He is at his most convincing in his discussions about the fallibility of religious beliefs, the modern world’s numerous shortcomings, deliberations over the “Feeling Brain” versus the “Thinking Brain,” and the importance of striking a happy medium between overindulging in and repressing emotions. Although we live in a “couch-potato-pundit era of tweetstorms and outrage porn,” writes Manson, hope springs eternal through the magic salves of self-awareness, rational thinking, and even pain, which is “at the heart of all emotion.”

Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better world alive.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288843-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2019

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Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

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The Bloggess is back to survey the hazards and hilarity of imperfection.

Lawson is a wanderer. Whether on her award-winning blog or in the pages of her bestselling books, she reliably takes readers to places they weren’t even aware they wanted to go—e.g., shopping for dog condoms or witnessing what appears to be a satanic ritual. Longtime fans of the author’s prose know that the destinations really aren’t the point; it’s the laugh-out-loud, tears-streaming-down-your-face journeys that make her writing so irresistible. This book is another solid collection of humorous musings on everyday life, or at least the life of a self-described “super introvert” who has a fantastic imagination and dozens of chosen spirit animals. While Furiously Happy centered on the idea of making good mental health days exceptionally good, her latest celebrates the notion that being broken is beautiful—or at least nothing to be ashamed of. “I have managed to fuck shit up in shockingly impressive ways and still be considered a fairly acceptable person,” writes Lawson, who has made something of an art form out of awkward confessionals. For example, she chronicles a mix-up at the post office that left her with a “big ol’ sack filled with a dozen small squishy penises [with] smiley faces painted on them.” It’s not all laughs, though, as the author addresses her ongoing battle with both physical and mental illness, including a trial of transcranial magnetic stimulation, a relatively new therapy for people who suffer from treatment-resistant depression. The author’s colloquial narrative style may not suit the linear-narrative crowd, but this isn’t for them. “What we really want,” she writes, “is to know we’re not alone in our terribleness….Human foibles are what make us us, and the art of mortification is what brings us all together.” The material is fresh, but the scaffolding is the same.

Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-07703-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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